On David Eye’s ‘Seed’
Eye’s poetry collection is heartbreaking and intense, and challenges our notion of family, relationships, place, and identity.
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The Word Works
In this heartbreaking and intense debut collection, David Eye challenges our notion of family, relationships, place, and identity in Seed. These poems range from the simplistic experiences of everyday life to the intense emotional struggles faced head-on in death and loss of loved ones. There is a vast range in voice and tone, form and language, along with the endless wonder of what might have been if people and circumstances had been different:
“Could we have? Would she have what she needs? Would I?
I’d have a son. The boy with trees in his name she kept
from his father at first, but would have shared with me.”
(“I Sang in Her Wedding,” p. 62).
Although Eye’s poems delve into the juxtaposition of social expectations and queer identity, much of his writing focuses on the various roles of women in his life. A woman in a dance club, a woman in a photograph, a social worker lecturing about condoms, and — perhaps most significantly — a sister, whose relationship with the poem’s persona has evolved over time:
“I awoke to rain from a dream of our house on Morton Lane.
We were kids, and alone, the way we liked. Be awake, me
on 24th Street, you on Valley View — with husband, kids — well.
At my worst, you know I still get jealous they came between us?”
(“Postcard to My Sister,” p. 27).
Each poem finds a way to cycle back to a sense of place and beginning: When and where was the seed of life and love planted? Has it survived and blossomed or shriveled in unforgiving and neglected soil?
There is tenderness in the devastation and risk of ruin that happens through concrete language carefully manicured and clipped with precision on each line. Seed is remarkable for its astute observations and candor of everyday and rare experiences.